The Reverend Phil Brown is grateful to his wife Kara, a nurse practitioner, for inspiring their healthy lifestyles.
But he credits Call to Health, the Medical Plan's wellness initiative, for helping jumpstart the couple's efforts to improve their financial well-being.
About a year ago, the Browns "recentered" their financial goals, said Rev. Brown, an associate pastor at St. Luke's Presbyterian Church, Dunwoody, Georgia. Call to Health prompted the couple to look at what they could do to live healthier, whole lives. "For us, one missing piece was dealing more intentionally with our debt."
Motivated by the financial well-being challenges offered through Call to Health, the Browns decided they would pay off their student loan debt and the debt from a move to a new house, plus the cost of remodeling it for their growing family. "In the past six months, we have paid back over $10,000, and we continue to chip away at it," Rev. Brown said.
How did they do it? The Browns follow a strict budget and use deliberate strategies to control their spending. "We don't go to Target (for Kara) or Home Depot (my downfall) unless we have a list, and we stick to the list. And we don't go out to eat as much."
They also used an app to monitor their spending versus budgeted amounts. "We each enter our expenses as we go, and it lets us see when we're going off track."
The battle against temptation is never over, Rev. Brown acknowledged. But it's easier when he remembers that "because of our decision to get financially fit, we are in a better, healthier place as a family."